A fruit staple to Rajasthan that grows within the state’s western arid areas is below risk from uncommon climate phenomena, which specialists say could possibly be linked to local weather change.
Ker and Sangri, also referred to as the “desert berry”, is integral to any Rajasthani thaali. It grows on the Khejri tree and on the Ker plant.
The Khejri tree is taken into account a lifeline of the desert; it’s worshipped by locals as a result of the tree can nonetheless develop the place there isn’t any water and its fruit is filled with vitamin.
However this yr’s uncommon rainfall in Rajasthan has affected the tree’s development.
Rajasthan’s western districts recorded 39.4 mm rainfall in March, April and Might, when it ought to be 13.8 mm. The climate workplace mentioned the rainfall was 185 per cent above regular.
The temperature, too, has been comparatively cool in March – 3 diploma Celsius beneath regular – which has affected the expansion of the Khejri tree and the desert berry.
Excessive moisture within the air and weird rain has led to the expansion of fungus and pests and so they have contaminated the Khejri tree.
This tree thrives in dry and arid climate; its fruit is picked in April and Might and could be saved for the entire yr.
The pests and fungus have contaminated not solely the tree’s bark but additionally the leaves and shoots.
“Sangri development this time has fallen by 60-70 per cent on account of uncommon rain and local weather change. The temperature was cool when it ought to have been scorching as pests and fungus would die of warmth. However they festered and began attacking the Khejri tree,” mentioned MR Baloch, director of Arid Analysis Zone, Jodhpur.
Khejri’s fruit, Sangri, when mixed with Ker or the desert berry, makes a dish integral to Rajasthani delicacies, which can also be a staple of the desert individuals.
Steeped in buttermilk in a single day, Sangri and Ker are stir fried in mustard oil with spices. The fruit’s value has sharply elevated this yr and it has vanished from menus in Rajasthan eating places.
“Ker-Sangri is the king of greens. However they’re briefly provide, so we now have needed to take away them from our menus,” mentioned Anand Bhati, proprietor of Pokhar restaurant in Jodhpur.
Farmers who would earn additional revenue from gathering the fruit of the Khejri tree and promoting them out there are additionally disenchanted.
“We have now some 15,000 bushes in our village. None are bearing fruit this yr. Earlier, we might promote them for Rs 700 per kilogram and make some more money,” mentioned Mool Singh, a farmer from Shergarh in Jodhpur.
Ker-Sangri costs have doubled from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000 per kg this yr.